Throwing a party during the festive season, or on New Year’s? During the chaos of party planning, you may need some guidance on what to offer your guests.
Food is what your guests will be expecting the most, so make sure you have a table full of treats, that you’ll guests will love!
We’ve put together a selection of recipes that will be great at your party over the festivities.
Mushroom & Chestnut Samosas with Tahini Dip
Bring some Asian vibes to your party food table with these Mushroom & Chestnut Samosas, that will leave your guests wanting more.
- ½ x 30g pack Cooks’ Ingredients Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 100g butter
- 2 echalion shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 150g Portabellini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp Madeira or brandy
- ½ x 25g pack flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 100g whole cooked, peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 25g toasted pine nuts
- 450g pack spinach, washed
- 6 sheets filo pastry
- 4 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
- Sumac and ground cinnamon, for dusting
- 1 tbsp Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Tahini
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (1½ lemons)
- 3 tbsp 0% fat Greek yogurt
- Soak the porcini in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain and chop. Melt 25g of the butter in a large frying pan and gently fry the shallots and garlic for 5 minutes until soft. Add all the mushrooms and cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes until golden and just tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the Madeira, parsley, chestnuts, pine nuts and seasoning. Leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6 and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Steam the spinach for 2 minutes until wilted, then squeeze out any water. Melt the remaining butter. Divide the mushrooms and spinach into 12 equal portions.
- Lay a clean tea towel on the work surface. Place the stack of pastry sheets with the short end nearest to you. Using scissors, cut the sheets in half lengthways. Take one length of pastry. Brush with butter. Spread 1 tsp of the tomato paste in a circle on the end nearest to you, leaving a 2cm border around it. Top with one portion each of the spinach and mushrooms.4. Fold the bottom left corner of pastry over the filling to make a triangle. Then fold the triangle up once, along its top edge. Continue folding in this way, from right to left and visa versa, to make a triangular shape and enclose the filling. Use a little melted butter to stick the seam.
- Lift the parcel onto the baking sheet, seam-side down, and brush with more melted butter. Repeat to make a total of 12 parcels. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and immediately dust with sumac and cinnamon. Meanwhile, mix the tahini, lemon juice, yogurt and seasoning together. Serve with the samosas.
Mini Paneer Kathi Rolls (Courtesy of Anjum Anand – author of I Love India)
These Paneer Kathi Rolls are great to throw together, and will bring the flavour to festive table.
For the marinade
- 100g (2⁄5 cup) plain yogurt, not too sour
- 20g (11⁄2 tbsp) roughly chopped root ginger (peeled weight)
- 2 large garlic cloves
- scant 2⁄3 tsp garam masala (fresh if possible, see page 113)
- scant 2⁄3 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp concentrated tomato purée
- 1⁄8 tsp chilli (chili) powder, or to taste
For the rolls
- 240g (83⁄4oz) paneer, cut into small fingers 2cm (3⁄4in) wide x 5cm (2in) long
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3⁄4 small green (bell) pepper, thinly sliced
- good handful of thinly sliced red onion rings
- 50ml (31⁄2 tbsp) Tangy Herb Chutney (see page 182)
- freshly ground black pepper
For the wrap
- 125g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus more to dust
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6–8 tbsp water, or as needed
- Blend together all the ingredients for the marinade. Season to taste with salt; I use 1 tsp. Add the paneer, gently turn the pieces to coat, and leave to marinate as you prepare the dough.
- Put the flour in a bowl and pour in the oil, water and a good pinch of salt. Knead together well; it will be a bit squelchy at the beginning but should become lovely and soft without cracks once it is done. Cover with a damp dish towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- To make the breads, place a tava or frying pan over a medium heat. Divide the dough into 10 pieces and roll each out on a work surface lightly dusted with flour into a thin, round bread around 13cm (5in) in diameter. Dust any excess flour off the bread and place on the pan.
- Cook, turning once, until the bread has just a few light brown spots on both sides; it only takes a minute or so. Repeat to cook all the breads, stacking them on a dish towel, covering each with the corners as you go to help keep them soft. (You can also reheat them in some foil in the oven.)
- Now back to the rolls. Heat the 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan, add the pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the paneer and all its marinade and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced, and you can see oil in the pan, 6–8 minutes or so. You might need to add a splash of water at some point once the pan gets dry. Add the onions and cook for another minute, or until the liquid now just coats the ingredients and is still moist. Take off the heat.
- Working quickly, spoon a line of the filling down the centre of each wrap, top with 1 rounded tsp Tangy Herb Chutney, wrap them up and serve hot.
Everyone loves cheese over Christmas, and this box-baked cheese molten cheese with orange blossom honey will make a great addition to the festive table.
- 2 x 250g packs Tunworth Cheese (or 2 x 250g boxed Camembert)
- 6 sprigs thyme, plus extra to serve
- 50g walnut pieces
- 4 Perfectly Ripe Conference Pears
- 8 fresh figs
- 4 tsp orange blossom honey
- Remove the cheeses from their boxes and peel away the wrappers. Remove the stickers from the boxes and place the lids under their bases for support. Return the cheeses to their boxes. Score the top of each cheese in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife and use the tip to push the thyme into the cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Place the cheeses, in their boxes, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until wobbly in the centre. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts out on a baking tray and add to the oven with the cheese for the final 5 minutes of cooking. Quarter the pears, remove the cores and cut them and the figs into wedges.
- Scatter the tops of the cheeses with the toasted walnuts, some more thyme leaves and a drizzle of honey. Serve with the pears and figs to dip. Simply return the cheese to the oven if it starts to become solid again.
Coconut Fried Chicken
The subtle sweetness from the coconut along with the aromatic 5 spice powder adds a lovely Oriental flavour to this classic fried chicken recipe and is sure to impress your friends and family.
- 2 large chicken breasts, thickly sliced into approximately 6 pieces from each chicken breast
- Approximately 2 litres vegetable oil, for frying
- 200g plain flour
- 1tbsp Chinese 5 spice powder
- 1tbsp dried coriander
- 1tbsp sea salt flakes
- 100g plus 2tbsp desiccated coconut
- 100ml Nature’s Charm Evaporated Coconut Milk
- 2 medium eggs, whisked
- Mix the coating in a large bowl by combining 100g of the plain flour with the other dry ingredients, keeping the other 100g of flour and 2 tbsp of desiccated coconut to the side.
- In another bowl mix together, the Nature’s Charm Evaporated Coconut Milk and the whisked eggs.
- Fill a large, heavy-based saucepan or a deep fryer with the vegetable oil and heat to 180c.
- To coat the chicken, first place the remaining 100g plain flour into a third bowl and coat the chicken in flour, tapping off any excess. Then dip into the evaporated milk and egg mixture carefully shaking off any excess mixture. Finally place into the dry coating mixture ensuring that the chicken is fully coated. Place onto a clean plate until ready to cook. Repeat until you have coated all of the chicken.
- Carefully cook 2-3 pieces of chicken at a time, ensuring not to over-crowd the pan. Turn the chicken over during cooking and these should take 5-6 minutes to cook. Remove from the pan and place onto clean kitchen paper to drain any excess oil. Sprinkle over some of the remaining desiccated coconut at this point.
- When all the chicken is cooked serve with a dipping sauce of your choice, such as satay sauce.
Pink Lady® Prawn Cocktail with Avocado Mayonnaise
- 1 large ripe avocado
- ½ lemon
- 5 tbsps. of olive oil
- 3 tbsps. of water
- 2 tsp of chipotle tabasco
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 gem lettuces, shredded
- 2 Pink Lady® apples, one cubed and one sliced
- 1 Pomegranate, seeded
- 1 Bunch of coriander, chopped
- 2 tsp – Cayenne pepper
- 200g – Raw tiger prawns
- 2 tbsps. – Rapeseed oil
- 1/2 a Lemon
- Pinch of Salt and pepper
- To make the avocado mayonnaise, put all the relevant ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If too thick, loosen with more water so you have a mayonnaise-like consistency. Set aside. Sprinkle the prawns with the cayenne, salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick pan and add the oil. Fry the prawns for about a minute on medium to high heat until just cooked. Squeeze the lemon half to finish. Set aside.
- Assemble the prawn cocktails. Put a dollop of avocado mayo in the base of a glass, followed by the shredded gem lettuce.
- Top with cubed apple, a pinch of chopped coriander, a couple of cooked prawns, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, and some more shredded lettuce.
- Finally, top with another spoonful of avocado mayo, then finish with a couple of Pink Lady® apple slices and a prawn
Chilled Mango, Coconut and “Pearl” Puddings (Courtesy of Anjum Anand – author of I Love India)
Add something sweet to the table, with the “Pearl” puddings. The combination of chilled mango and coconut will leave your guests with a sweet tooth.
- 60g (21⁄4oz) large tapioca pearls, soaked for 20 minutes
- 2 large ripe Alphonso (ideally) mangoes
- 125ml (1⁄2 cup) coconut cream, or to taste
- 175ml/200ml (2⁄3–5⁄6 cup) whole chilled milk, plus more if needed
- 2/3 tbsp sugar, or to taste
- 5 tbsp grated fresh or frozen and defrosted coconut, chilled
- Crispy tapioca pearls (see below)
- Crystallized rose petals
- Flaked roasted almonds
- Fresh coconut shards
- Mango wedges
- Soak the tapioca pearls for 20 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to the boil – you do need lots of water. Add the drained tapioca pearls, bring to the boil, cover and cook for 14 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to finish cooking for another 10 minutes, or until they are translucent, or almost so. You want to keep an eye on them as if they over-cooked, they become gluey. Pour straight into a sieve and place in a large bowl of cold water. Set aside
- Slice the cheeks from the mangoes and scoop out the flesh, keeping all the juices as you work. Set 1 cheek aside. Put the rest into a blender with the juices. Remove the skin from the stones and try to get as much flesh and juice off it as you can; put this straight into the blender.
- Add the coconut cream, the smaller amount of milk and the sugar. Blend until smooth. Add the rest of the milk if it is thick (you might even need more, it all depends on the juiciness of the fruit), until the texture is like double (heavy) cream. Add half the coconut. Taste and adjust the sugar to taste.
- Add the cold pearls to the mango cream and chill until ready to eat. When you are ready to serve, chop the reserved mango into slivers. Pour the mango cream into small bowls, pile some of the mango in the middle, top with the remaining fresh coconut and crispy tapioca pearls, if you like, and serve chilled. Or, for a more graphic look, place the tapioca in the glasses, spoon over the mango cream, swirl in a little sweetened coconut cream and garnish with any of the options.
Crispy Tapioca Pearls
- Soak an extra 1 tbsp of tapioca pearls, then dry on kitchen paper.
- Heat 1½ tbsp flavourless vegetable oil in a small pan, tilt the pan to collect the oil on 1 side and add the tapioca. Cover immediately with a lid as they will try and jump out.
- Cook for 1 minute or until crispy, drain and place on kitchen paper to blot off excess oil.
- Leave until ready to use (you can make this a day ahead). I leave these unsweetened, but you can candy them as well, in the same way as you would nuts.